by Melissa Jabour

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to very difficult times for many local and small businesses. Some businesses have been temporarily shuttered, and others have had to change their operations completely. These businesses are the backbone of our country’s economy and vital to the communities they serve and now more than ever they need our support. Here are five simple things that we all can do to support local businesses.

  1. Shop Local from Home—Many businesses offer their goods or services for purchase online, whether through their website or social media or over the phone. Shop local as often as you
    can. This way a much higher percentage of money is spent in locally-owned businesses, as opposed to chain retailers, which helps money remain in the community.
  2. Purchase Gift Cards—Certain businesses have been unable to remain open. An easy way to help those establishments is to purchase a gift card for use at a later time. As an added bonus, many businesses are offering discounts on the purchase of gift cards. Stock up now and treat yourself (or someone else) to a manicure, massage or brunch in the future!
  3. Order Takeout or Delivery—Tired of cooking? Many restaurants are continuing to serve their customers during this time and have switched to takeout-only menus. Order from your favorite restaurant or take this opportunity to try something new. In addition, many other types of businesses are offering delivery or curbside pickup—check to see if your favorite local florist, bookstore or clothing boutique is doing so.
  4. Utilize Social Media—Follow, Like and share your favorite local businesses with others. If you have had a great experience with a local business during this time of reduced operations, write a review on Facebook, Google or Yelp. This can help businesses attract new customers and may also provide a much-needed morale boost during this difficult time.
  5. Contribute to Charities and Community Foundations that Support Workers—Various industry associations have created relief funds to support out-of-work individuals. For example, the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and the James Beard Foundation have created relief funds for restaurant workers, many of whom rely heavily upon tips. Many local community foundations and community service organizations have also set up emergency funds for workers whose employers have been forced to reduce operations. Consider contributing now to ensure that your favorite local businesses and their employees are supported financially.

These tips help to keep local businesses afloat during times of reduced operations and remind them that we look forward to frequenting their establishments once it is safe to do so.